An Investigation of the Interrelationships between Motivation, Engagement, and Complex Problem Solving in Game-based Learning

March 12, 2014

Game_01Digital game-based learning, especially massively multiplayer online games, has been touted for its potential to promote student motivation and complex problem-solving competency development. However, current evidence is limited to anecdotal studies. The purpose of this empirical investigation is to examine the complex interplay between learners’ motivation, engagement, and complex problem-solving outcomes during game-based learning. A theoretical model is offered that explicates the dynamic interrelationships among learners’ problem representation, motivation (i.e., interest, competence, autonomy, relatedness, self-determination, and self-efficacy), and engagement. Findings of this study suggest that learners’ motivation determine their engagement during gameplay, which in turn determines their development of complex problem-solving competencies. Findings also suggest that learner’s motivation, engagement, and problem-solving performance are greatly impacted by the nature and the design of game tasks. The implications of this study are discussed in detail for designing effective game-based learning environments to facilitate learner engagement and complex problem-solving competencies.

Educational Technology and Society

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